With the annual budget time approaching, the Board of Delta County Commissioners was presented with two requests for funding on Monday -- one for tourism and one for agriculture -- that promise to help boost the local economy.
Kelli Hepler, county tourism coordinator, made a request from the Delta County Tourism Cabinet for $7,495 in matching funds to be spent on social media campaigns and on implementing a new tourism strategic plan. Commissioners took the request under advisement for consideration during budget hearings this fall.
Hepler also reported increasing interest in the local tourism sector. As an indication of that, the county's lodging tax brought in 25 percent more money in July and August than for the same period last year, she told commissioners. The Southwest region is a big draw for tourists from Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, she said. Social media reaches travelers from those areas.
Also, Hepler announced that she is one of 20 people from across the state selected to receive special tourism training from the state.
In another request for budget funding, the Delta Soil Conservation District has asked commissioners to consider match funding for a second technician in the local office. The county's $5,000 support for a single technician position is augmented with federal money and provides the $25,000 to $30,000 position. The one technician in the local office last year worked on $1.1 million in projects benefitting local producers and the ag sector, explained Bill Cleary of the Delta Soil Conservation District.
The request for funding is due to the agency's own budget restrictions, commissioners were told. The board took the request under advisement.
In other business at its regular business meeting held on Sept. 5, the Board of County Commissioners dealt with the following matters:
• Commissioners met Seth Urbanowitz, the new CSU Tri-River Area agronomist. He has previously worked in Oregon, Nevada, South Dakota and Illinois, he said. Commissioner Doug Atchley noted the importance of irrigation to local agriculture, and Commissioner Don Suppes expressed hopes that all sectors of the county's diverse agriculture sector would be supported by the agency's programs.
• Commissioners heard a report recommending speed limit posting on certain sections of Escalante Road. No action was taken.
• In planning business, commissioners approved a final plat for Scenic Mesa Ranch Resource Preservation subdivision, Pamela Turnbull trustee; and approved a replat in the Hidden Valley Estates, Nathaniel D. and Rebecca Walton owners.
• Commissioners approved a grant request to the state for $11,355 to support the 7th Judicial District victim assistance program.
• Commissioners appointed Debbie Melgoza and Lori Cressler as representatives for low-income self sufficiency interests on the Community Development Block Grant program board of directors. The terms are for three years.
• Commissioners received a jail census for Sept. 4 showing 37 in detention and nine in work release.
• Commissioners received a report from the state declaring Adobe Buttes landfill in compliance with state regulation.
• Commissioners submitted a request to the state Air Quality Control Commission to be accorded participant status in a state rulemaking on regulation of ozone and other airborne substances.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.